#TBT: How Wayne's World Made Being Uncool Cool
Welcome back to Throwback Thursday! This is the place where we get to indulge in nostalgia and wax poetic about excellent metal of years past. On February 14th, 1992, Wayne's World was born unto the masses. Starring modern comedy legends Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey, TBT 40 is here to bring you the party with a crappy film you shouldn't care about even in the slightest…. NOT.
Movie Studio: Paramount
Welcome to Wayne's World – the story of two basement-dwelling metal heads, Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar, who have their own hilarious public access show. Scummy TV exec Benjamin Oliver (played by ever-chiseled Rob Lowe) picks up the homegrown program for a mainstream network, and Wayne and Garth think that they've made it. In case you haven't seen the movie, I'll keep today's post spoiler-free. But the plot of Wayne's World isn't what makes this movie memorable or note-worthy. The characters are.
Wayne Campbell still lives at home with his mom. He has never been gainfully employed, and always wears his iconic outfit – ripped up jeans, black t-shirt and Wayne's World logo cap. His best friend, Garth, is a frizzy-haired, bespectacled shy-guy whose introversion plays perfect with Wayne's 4th-wall breaking, wise-crack makin' extroversion. Their best friendship reminds me so much of my own best friendship, and that's where this movie moves beyond entertaining to great – Wayne and Garth feel like they could be your friends.
They're not here to impress you with fancy cars (though I always thought the merthmobile was the coolest), and they're certainly not afraid to be who they are – even if that includes drinking the jelly of a filled-doughnut with a straw. I imagine that, were they real, they'd get your eccentricities, go to rad shows with you, and most importantly schwing at hot babes with you. They are the expression of such a generic, but positive, stereotype of 90's era metal heads – and I love it. Check out this now infamous scene starring the merthmobile, a few metalbro goon-friends, Queen, and headbanging:
I'm not saying Queen wasn't big before this, but this slice-of-life propelled this song and this moment into the popularity stratosphere. And if the description of 'generic' rubs you the wrong way, I view it was a simple positive. The basis of Wayne's relationships with his friends includes: Going out to the local hot spot, a love of metal music, getting grub, and being goofy. What more do you really need to have a good time? In that way, Wayne are Garth are all of us. Even the opening shots of the film's setting, sleepy Aurora Illinois, bring this flick down to Earth. Typical, unremarkable places in a home town like the local White Castle or guitar shop are shown in easy glimpses and make the film feel unpretentious and familiar.
Mike Myers wrote the movie alongside Bonnie Turner and Terry Turner. The character of Wayne Campbell actually originated from Meyers while he was still a Canadian-based comedian. Campbell made his debut on the show It's Only Rock and Roll on the CBC. From there, Meyers was picked up by Saturday Night Live and the rest was history – Wayne and Garth met and their SNL sketch became wildly popular. Lorne Michaels, SNL creator and producer, also produced Wayne's World. The movie is one of the rare TV to movie spin-offs that is actually successful. Worldwide, the movie managed to net $183,100,000 at the box office. Not bad for two nerds.
I mean, seriously. Two underdog leading men demonstrate getting the show they want, the friends they want, the girls they want, and even the life they want just by being themselves. Their stark contrast to alpha-male Oliver is alluded to several times throughout the movie.
And if I'm being honest, I still can't talk to super hot dudes without getting clammy. Who hasn't had their own cutaway scene in their heads while staring at the one you desire most?
In between the skeleton of the plot we find the magic that is Wayne's World. Feel-good is such a generic way to describe this movie, but damn if it ain't true. It makes me happy every single time I watch it. As metal fans, we can relate to the outcast counterculture current of the story. What's even better is that throughout the film, Wayne and Garth are helped along by several mostly silent metal bros. These metal archetypes are there for the duo filming and editing, fixing their car, and partying with them at bars. They're everywhere, making the dominance of alternative culture a prevailing and likable theme. The juxtaposition of slick corporate culture versus authenticity is a theme revisited again and again, most notably by this scene:
What Wayne's World does so memorably is capture a nostalgia – before it was even gone. Tia Carrere is a freaking perfect choice to play Cassandra, Wayne's love interest/girlfriend. She actually super rocks in this film, because she does all of her own vocals. Check out one of my favorite songs from the film (and promotional video for Wayne's World):
The music in this film is just great. Plus the cameo from Alice Cooper, and the subsequent reaction, is just legendary.
"Yes, Pete. It is."
If you were looking for 5 more insightful reasons why Wayne's World is fucking great, check out The 5 Most Metal Things About WAYNE'S WORLD On Its 25th Anniversary.
If you haven't seen the film in a grip, or ever, treat yo' self to what should be a staple in every metal heads nostalgia collection. Thanks for stoppin' by and I'll see you all next week!